Project Jason: Psychics and missing people

As a skeptic, when discussing psychics and how there is zero scientific evidence for the existence of psychic powers, I often come up against the attitude that says, "What's the harm if people believe in psychics?"

What's the harm indeed? Have your palm read, and it's kind of fun, but you generally don't take it all that seriously. The same is true of psychic readings, which, for most people, seem to be more a form of entertainment than anything else, given how little stock most people put in them. The prevailing attitude out there seems to be that, if people are willing to give up their money to psychics for their "services," no one is really harmed, and if the psychic isn't trying to make money of his or her "talents," who cares?

A new blog series by Kelly Jolkowski, a mother whose son has been missing nearly five years, would argue otherwise, particularly when the psychic advice is about a matter of life and death and the desperation of a family looking for a missing member:

Mysterious things have always intrigued me. As children, my brothers and I liked to scare other kids with tales of ghosts, other creatures, and space aliens. There were times we even had other parents complain that we gave their kids nightmares! We loved all the horror and science fiction movies and TV shows.

As a teenager, I discovered ESP, Ouija boards, and prophecy. At one time, I believed the silliness about the world ending long before now, as stated by the "Late Great Planet Earth" author, Hal Lindsey. I even had my little brother scared to the point of tears with that one.

I grew up, married, and had 2 sons. As a working mom raising a family, I didn't have time to continue studying the paranormal, and I still wonder if ghosts and aliens exist, and if I visited Loch Ness, if I would see 'ol Nessie.

I think the mysteries of life keep us on our toes, always seeking the answers. I would hate for there not to be would be very boring if we had it all figured out!

Unfortunately, I have a mystery in my life that I'd really like to solve. Most of my readers know that my son Jason has been missing without a trace for over 4 years. In fact, this summer it will be 5 long years. No one has been able to figure out what happened to him, not even the best investigators.

In the course of this fruitless search, and also with the birth of Project Jason, came an undesirable element. That is what I call the "Advantage Takers". Advantage Takers include any person or organization which uses this tragic situation for personal gain. That gain may not always be in the form of money.

We, the families of the missing, are victims in several ways. If our loved one has been taken from us in a brutal way, we are victims. We may also be victims of a poorly constructed and trained LE (law enforcement) structure. We may be victims of society's apathy to our plight because of prejudices against missing persons, particularly adults. We again may be the victims of a non-responsive media.

There is one method of victimization that can be avoided, however, and that is by people who claim to be able to find your missing loved one via paranormal means.

Some of these persons try to play on guilt in that they say people in our position should try any (legal) means possible to find their missing loved one. It is subtlety implied that if we are not willing to subject ourselves to this, then we must not really care about finding our missing loved ones. It is a chance we should always take, we are told.

Today begins my series on psychics and missing people. I have several stories about these people and my own experiences with them, plus experiences of other family members of the missing. And, as you might expect, none of these cases have been solved by using paranormal means. We'll also hear from world-renowned experts in the field as we present the information.

You can see where this is going, can't you? Whenever there is a missing persons case, particularly if it's a high profile case, the psychics always come out of the woodwork, claiming that they can help find the missing person. Much of the time the motivation is not money, but either a misguided belief in their own abilities to help or a desire to be in the limelight. However, they are usually worse than useless.

As Kelly points out:

There is not one proven case in which a psychic, using special powers or abilities not given to the typical person, has located a missing person, whether dead or alive. It may be possible that some persons have an ability that defies science and logic, but there is no known scientific evidence of this. These persons re-victimize families by taking away hope where it should stand, and giving hope where there is none. No person has the right to do this to another.

In a second post, she lays the groundwork with a harrowing description of what it is like to be the mother of a missing child and having offers of psychic "help," much of it contradictory, much of it forcing her to contemplate what horrible things could have been done to her child in graphic detail.

This series looks like one to follow. If you believe that psychics are simply a harmless bunch of cranks, read on. They may be cranks, but in criminal cases like that of Kelly's son, they are far from harmless.

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A while back, I was on a college trip to New Orleans. Hung out in the French Quarter a bit. Had a tarot reader who noticed me two days in a row. Since I probably would have found the experience entertaining, and it'd probably only cost a few dollars, I don't hold any real malice towards those sorts.

I do, however, hold malice for the psychics who convince people to waste time, money, sweat, and tears by dangling an ethereal carrot in front of them. These "psychics" certainly seem adept at re-opening emotional wounds.

Some of these persons try to play on guilt in that they say people in our position should try any (legal) means possible to find their missing loved one. It is subtlety implied that if we are not willing to subject ourselves to this, then we must not really care about finding our missing loved ones. It is a chance we should always take, we are told.

My first thought: sounds awfully like Generation Rescue and their attitude toward non-chelating (probably soon to be non-castrating) parents. Second thought: reminds me of the several MLMs that try to convince parents that they've been poisoning their children with common household cleaners. Despicable, using parental grief as a sales hook.

Thanks for mentioning this. Like your post last year about alternative medicine and the 'Orange Man,' people need to understand that psychics are not harmless. They are in the business of taking advantage of people who are, emotionally, at their lowest ebb.

I knew weeks ago that you were going to post about psychics....

My firm just conducted a work activity surveillance on a fellow who is receiving workers compensation. We found that he is doing psychic readings in his home. Strangely, he never realized we were checking up on his. (His former job was that of funeral director..."Greetings, I knew you were on your way here."

I do feel sorry for psychics. They always know the punchline before you get to it.

I wanted to thank you for the excellent piece introducing my blog series "Psychics and Missing People".

I will continue to post as soon as the Blooger Dashboard is fixed.


I've managed to save up roughly $56452 in my bank account, but I'm not sure if I should buy a house or not. Do you think the market is stable or do you think that home prices will decrease by a lot?

By Courtney Gidts (not verified) on 08 May 2006 #permalink